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A Creative Adaptive Reuse for the Silos

By Roger Schroeder:

In response to the “Use it or lose it” article about creative adaptive reuses for our grain elevators and silos I thought it would be a good time to share a idea I had years ago that was similar to the post. The silos I had in mind were the ones that appear to your right hand side as you travel out the skyway. The concept of using the existing building as the structural element is born of the complicated nature of cutting windows and passageways into these massive elements.

My concept is similar to the post (see illustration) but builds further on the massive/strong nature of the concrete silos. In this concept the floors are hung from a new set of roof trusses that provide new space, circulation at the top of the structure. The floors are literally hung from these trusses. This provides great advantages in reducing the structural steel requirements, floor columns could literally be steel cables! And because of the massive stiff core to this structure, very little lateral bracing would allow for expansive open floor plates. In my concept illustration I have left the end exposed and provided open spaces between floor sections to expose the underling historic structure. In many ways this type of adaptive reuse keeps more of the building intact by reducing the number of penetrations. Units would have the exposed exterior walls of the silo.


The project seems very attractive from a financing / construction cost perspective. The project would most likely qualify for historic/adaptive reuse financial incentives. Construction costs are reduced by lighter steel and other reduced structural requirements, while much of the site and structural is existing, and most of the construction is new as opposed rehab.

A further advantage over typical reuses of these structures is this type of construction provides larger expanses of glass creating the kind of exciting spaces and views we see in the Avant (200 Delaware).

If there is a developer who would like to contact Roger Schroeder regarding this idea, please feel free to send him an email.

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